Gaza, The Troubles and Plane Crashes- Should Children Even Watch The News?

Do your children watch the news? Mine do, sporadically, if it is on and something catches their attention they will sit and watch or they occasionally will listen to the news when in the car. I am trying to get the balance right particularly with the six and eight year old. Half of me wants to just wrap them in blankets and tell them only about the nice things in the world, it’s not very realistic though is it? So we drip feed things to them I suppose, let them watch the news when they have an interest and try to answer their questions , reassure them and try to get the balance right. I don’t think I give them credit of how much they do take in and often they will surprise me my talking about current events happening around the world.


Like most weeks, there is so much tragedy nationally and internationally this week. Drowning, road deaths, planes falling out of the sky, Gaza. I will admit to an irrational crippling fear of flying and I have overdosed on news of the recent air disasters so naturally the children are aware of them. I would hate if they got my fear of flying, they have nothing to gain from watching media coverage of plane crashes. I have told them how it is the safest form of travelling and how road deaths are by far more common. Then I started to worry would they start to get worried about being passengers in cars but yet wanting them to always remain cautious when crossing roads. It’s a complete mindfuck, finding the balance.

The boy seems in particular to have a lot of questions about bombs and about war. He recently asked had there been in wars in Ireland. So we tried to explain about Northern Ireland. It is hard to do, can you give your children basic brief overviews without clouding them with personal opinion?  We taught them the words of Come Out Ye Black and Tans and got them a tiocfaidh ar la  tattoo………. No. Not really .Yes there was talk of British oppression but the atrocities carried out by the IRA were explained too and the work of all parties to achieve the peace process.  The kids eyes glazed over at this point I’m sure. I don’t want them to have the traditional anti-british stance that was so typical of Irish culture in the past but of course I want to them understand, appreciate and enjoy learning about the history of their nation and manage to form their own understanding and opinions.

I came downstairs this morning and found the boy  watching coverage of Gaza, this morning. There were questions. I was stuck between changing the channel and putting on cartoons to distract him or try to explain. I had seen this video online, it is a brief and easy to understand overview of Israel and Palestine, so I played it for him. If anybody else has children asking questions about what is going on, I would recommend it.

Via michaelxspeaks on Youtube

We watched it, he grasped some of it. He asked questions and I tried to answer them. We talked about protesting and why it is important.

Should I have changed the subject to dinosaurs or sharks straight away? I don’t know. How much information is too much information?They do have to know the world isn’t all good all of the time don’t they? I do think I would prefer, most of the time, to just talk about rainbows and dinosaurs and loom bands but I will try to answer the questions as they come and continue on our search to find unicorns too and keep on trucking blindly through parenting. It doesn’t get easier does it? I think I preferred toilet training and tantrums.

we were sucvessful in our unicorn search this

We were successful in our unicorn search this week…….

11 thoughts on “Gaza, The Troubles and Plane Crashes- Should Children Even Watch The News?

  1. Awfully Chipper says:

    It’s so hard, isn’t it? We don’t watch the news on TV, so my kids don’t really hear it much. We haven’t talked about the recent air disasters (with a big flight coming up next week, I really don’t want to think about that much myself never mind cope with worried kids) and the Israel-Palestine conflict is not in their orbit. (Though thanks for the video. I finally watched it and feel better educated.) But my son does think about things like the twin towers and the Nigerian kidnapped girls, and then his sister hears him talking about it, and it’s so hard to figure out what the right tone to strike is… terrible things happen but not to us? Terrible things used to happen but not any more? And then, my kids seem less worried by any of it than I am anyway, so maybe we don’t need to protect them so much…

    • The Clothesline says:

      We probably don’t need to protect them so much. I just worry that if they are too cosseted will their heads explode when they do grow up and have to face real life? Can you tell Im stuck under a baby all day today with too much time on my hands to be overthinking?

  2. tric says:

    I remember growing up we had a lot of contact with the North and “the troubles” I took it in my stride. However I didn’t let my kids watch the news when they were small, (and for a while I featured on it so I was glad I’d come up with that rule) but was always very open answering questions.
    Mind you last week my youngest was watching the news as we ate dinner abroad, and started to cry when she saw the plane crash, mostly because we had to return by plane!
    It’s a good question, but personally I think a lot of it is over 12s kind of stuff, (but no one listened to that guideline in this house either)

    • The Clothesline says:

      I definitely only answer what they ask, I don’t encourage them to watch the news.They are a fair few years off 12 but they would be in and out of room when we watch the news, especially at the moment when they don’t go to bed 🙁

  3. Caitriona - Wholesome Ireland says:

    I don’t try to hide it from them & answer any questions they may have. I suppose the way we grew up makes a difference to my attitude. I’ve lived in Israel for a spell & my parents never sought to hide these things from me. My parents mostly had the news on every mealtime & we were encouraged to discuss/ask questions if we wanted to. Most of the time the most pressing question was what’s for dessert though. 😉

  4. Aedin says:

    Such a hard thing to get right.As you say on the one hand,you want to protect them but not have them living in a fantasy land where nothing bad ever happens.Its so different from when we were kids.This whole 24 hour news cycle thing and getting the news on your tablet or phone where ever you go means it’s nearly impossible for kids not to hear some bit of the news.Sounds like you’re treading that difficult line well.That cartoon is brill!

  5. SusieChopstick says:

    I get a lot more questions about where babies come from or what happens when we die than about the news at the moment, though my middle girl has just gone through that ‘death obsessed’ stage that kids go through when they realise that they’re mortal and so is everyone else. She was very worried for a few weeks a while ago, and she has also started picking up on appeals in commercials. ‘Mammy why does that little baby have no food when we do?’ ‘That little boy is going to DIE if people don’t send money Mammy.’ All delivered with the full on earnestness of a totally loving little soul.
    I suppose I don’t really watch the news on TV during the day. I frequently tune out at night after they’ve gone to bed too, but I keep up online. I have been horrified by the reports of what’s happening in Gaza. We will eventually have to ease our children into this world, it’s true, but I’m hoping not yet, not for another while. My kids don’t even play with guns. When my now eight year old was 5, she asked me what a gun was!
    Have we sheltered them too much? Probably. It’s so hard to know now what to show them so that they understand. I think I’ll wait for another while and keep telling them fairy stories instead.

  6. craftysorcha says:

    I don’t want to hide the news from my son, however I think we have to be careful, there are some things on the news that I find hard to digest, I can’t imagine it being good for a child to hear. It’s about judgement.

  7. momsranting says:

    I discovered your blog today, and love it! I also have 4 kids, both a wonderful and terrible experience at times. I am sharing this video on my FB page, there are so many grown ups who don’t understand the history of this dispute, what a great explanation. Looking forward to reading more of your posts later….right now I just discovered the 4 year old eating goldfish crackers and fruit snacks for breakfast as I wasn’t paying attention to him :/

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